Enough is Enough - 108 days in
It has been 108 days since I stopped buying things for myself and it has been (and is) an interesting journey. Not buying any new ‘stuff’ for myself (one on one replacement is allowed but I keep that to a bare minimum too) is still a strange experience. I have long periods where it’s easy and short periods where it’s really hard. Below I’d like to share some of the things that I’ve learned these last 108 days:
My emotions still seem to be linked to my need to buy. When I feel strong and balanced I need nothing, when I feel tired or vulnerable my desire for something new grows significantly… At those moments I feel sorry for myself and I often think about breaking my ‘promise’. Luckily these moments don’t last and I more and more start to realise what’s happening and the power I give my mind in moments like those. It more and more makes me smile sometimes with a grumble ;-) ) and I start to wait for the moment to pass, not taking it too seriously… Sometimes, however, the idea of another 8 months overwhelms me…
I can do with less
I have done a huge clean out of my closet (removed 6 garbage bags of clothes and shoes) which felt really, really good. However even now I still look at what I have and know I can easily do with even less… My two boys have picked up on the ‘minimalism’ idea too and they constantly are sorting through their toys and clothes creating boxes to give away. How inspiring is that!
There is so much rubbish!
When I walk around in the mall (something I do very little of) I’m constantly amazed about the amount of ‘rubbish’ shops try to sell us. Anything to increase our level of convenience or to improve our image and so much is made of material that takes forever to dissolve. Be it fake eye lashes (btw animals suffer for this!), period proof underpants (probably not made of organic cotton), plastic poached egg cookers, the new autumn clothes collection, I wonder, do we really need all this stuff? And if so, how long will we be using this before we put it in a drawer and forget about it? The less I buy, the more I seem to wonder….
It catches on :-)
Both my boys and some friends have become more aware of what they have and their need to buy new things. We often buy things without really thinking about the need and it seems that often we talk ourselves into a need to buy something new. It’s surprisingly how often friends say to me ‘you should buy this’. And my standard reply of ‘not this year’ often initiates conversations in which my friends admit they regularly buy things they don’t even really need/like. And I’m with you girlfriend! If only we take a moment of reflection, a moment of emotionally unattached assessment, BEFORE we buy anything, I’m convinced you’ll reduce what you buy by at least half!
What I really want…
So mother’s day and my birthday are ‘around the corner’ and I have this list with things I really want and guess what’s on the list…. NOTHING! There’s just nothing I really want, even though I think that’s so very strange! This probably surprises me most of this whole experiment. There’s nothing (material) that gives me a feeling of happiness that I’d be after. I drawing and letter of the boys, a nice lunch in a local cafe, coffee with a friend, quality time with my family…. That’s on my list at the moment!
The magic of the number 108
Ok so why an update today, on the 108th day of the year…. I love the number 108 for it’s spiritual (and mathematical) meaning. It refers to spiritual completion which seems very suitable for my endeavour ;-)
The Buddhism tradition talks about the 108 earthly desires in mortals, 108 lies humans tell and 108 human delusions. In modern Gnosticism it is believed that an individual has 108 chances, or lifetimes, to eliminate his ego and transcend the material world before "devolving" and having the ego forcefully removed in the infra-dimensions.
From a mathematical point of view renowned mathematicians of Vedic culture viewed 108 as a number of the wholeness of existence:
The distance between the Earth and Sun is 108 times the diameter of the Sun
The diameter of the Sun is 108 times the diameter of the Earth
The distance between the Earth and Moon is 108 times the diameter of the Moon.